Nudge – New Work by Renée Van Halm

PrintNudge can be seen as an encouragement to look, to move in closer, to move over just a bit, on the part of the viewer but also refers to the process of making a painting. For instance the choices an artist makes when introducing a colour or shape and moving them until around till the composition clicks into place. The process of making the collages and subsequently  paintings involve nudging the shapes over to find the optimal position in an ideal but edgy relationship.

This exhibition at the Equinox Gallery opens on February 13, 2016

The Poetics of Space, Vancouver Art Gallery, January 31 to May 24, 2015


Mies/Interior, Goauche on paper, 2011

The Poetics of Space features both historical and contemporary works that investigate the idea of space, whether they are conceptually, analytically or emotionally founded. This exhibition takes its title from Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 book of the same name that presents a psychic interpretation of “home,” and one’s prototypical experiences of personal space; in the book Bachelard discusses the way our perceptions of shelter begin to delineate the very essence of how we think and imagine. Using this text as a starting point, the exhibition explores the symbolic meaning of spaces as tied to ideas of perception, memory, intimacy and experience. Inspired by Cézanne’s analytic approach to depicting space (on view in a concurrent exhibition at the Gallery in Cézanne and the Modern), the first section of the exhibition, “Fracturing of Form,” examines the ways artists have historically contended with conveying pictorial problems of depth on a two dimensional plane. The following area, “Psychic Weight,” focuses on the intimacy of inhabited structures or other familiar locations to reveal how they are laden with emotional intensity and symbolic meaning. A third section features works in which artists have conceptualized a site in non-traditional ways, mapping it according to their own purposes or acknowledging its layered socio-cultural histories. Ultimately, the exhibition reveals the expansive and subjective ways in which artists have grappled with depicting and defining space over time.


 Janice Gurney: Translations & Alliances and Renée Van Halm: Depth of Field


Opening Reception: Thursday, November 27, 6 – 9pm Exhibitions Run: November 27, 2014 – January 10, 2015  Please join us for our final preview of 2014, with exhibitions by Janice Gurney and Renée Van Halm.

Birch Contemporary
129 Tecumseth Street
Toronto, Canada
M6J 2H2

Complex Curves 2014

Review: Softening the Corners exhibition at Birch Contemporary, Toronto

Hard Edges Cushioned at Softening the Corners
Birch Contemporary, Toronto July 17 to August 30, 2014
By Leah Sandals

It seems there is such an interest right now in formalism and abstraction that work of a more representational or corporeal ilk comes across as a surprise—and a pleasant surprise at that.
“Softening the Corners,” a group show at Birch Contemporary, offers a few such unexpected diversions.

…After I viewed the exhibition, curator Corrie Jackson explained to me that a central work in the show is Renée Van Halm’s Privacy Screen. Halm is the only artist in the show actually represented by Birch Contemporary, and this work is from 1997—rather than 2014, like the other works in the show—reflecting Halm’s status as an artist of a more senior generation.
Privacy Screen both imitates and references the shoulder-height screens in Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, which was built in 1951. Farnsworth House’s original owner eventually abandoned the structure for several reasons, one being a sense of constant exposure in the glass-walled home and another being the fact that it was not well adapted to the local landscape, being subject to severe flooding from a nearby waterway.
One side of Halm’s structure—the more extruded or “exterior” side—is painted black, with a representation of Farnsworth house in greys and whites along the top edge. The other side of the structure—the more enclosed or “interior” side—is painted bright red, creating a powerful visual contrast that at its most elemental might be framed as blood-versus-brain.
Farnsworth House was born of a beautiful idea, and it is, I take it, a beautiful structure—but it is not amenable to actual human habitation or nurturance, at least as far as most humans are concerned.
Exiting this exhibition (which included a few “misses” as well as the aforementioned “hits”), I wondered how much art made today is of a similar ilk—great as an idea or visual experience, but less amenable to corporeal and emotional needs.
– See more at:

Artist talk

Vancouver Island School of Art

Victoria, BC

April 2, 2014

Art with a Heart Auction

An auction in support of Casey House, Toronto | October 8, 2013 








Renée Van Halm, German Pavilion 2010



Lecture | Cutting Across Space, Sechelt, BC

Renée Van Halm will talk about her work as it considers architectural space in private and public realms. She has a long-standing interest in the history of painting and the production of hybrid objects that blur the space between painting, sculpture and architecture.
Saturday October 27, 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Seaside Centre, 5790 Teredo St, Sechelt


Robin Laurence | Summer 2012 | Canadian Art

Review | Renée Van Halm at the Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby
Amelia 2003
Subtitled “Cross-Cutting/Inside Out,” this survey of works on paper served as an admirable measure of the arc of Renée Van Halm’s practice. The exhibition, which spanned the years 1979 to 2011, focused on one of her abiding interests: architecture. More precisely, it demonstrated her ongoing analysis of the ways our built environment, along with its furnishings and fixtures, both articulates cultural values and frames social interactions. Van Halm has explored this theme through a range of media—from installations that hybridize the disciplines of painting, sculpture and architecture, to handsome, large-scale canvases executed in oil or acrylic, to the gouache, graphite and pastel drawings and handmade collages on view at the Burnaby Art Gallery